CEDAR FALLS — Objective number one for University of Northern Iowa head football coach Mark Farley through the first three spring practices was to get everybody on the same page.
When Monday’s 2 1/2-hour practice finished, Farley was pleased on that point.
With one-fifth of UNI’s spring practices completed, Farley is pleased with the chemistry of his coaching staff and the on-field coaching that has taken place, especially with three new faces on the staff — offensive coordinator Ryan Mahaffey, quarterbacks coach Justin Roper and wide receivers coach Isaac Fruechte.
“I told our staff today that our Saturday practice was about as well-coached as far as on the field guys getting to where they belonged and coaching on the run,” Farley said. “They get around, have a lot of energy, get to the point of attack so they can get their points made, get out of the way so we don’t slow practice down.”
The next step is to get more physical. Monday was the first day the Panthers went in full pads.
“The next three we actually have to get more physical with the practices,” Farley said.
Senior all-conference tight end Briley Moore said progress is really starting to be more visible over the first two practices.”
“We have a great group of leaders on this team,” Moore said. “I think the guys in leadership position are pulling the younger guys along, pulling them up to to par so we can have efficient practices.
“We’ve got to continue to clean up the little things, keep striving and keep working as a team.”
LIGHT AT RUNNING BACK: With senior Trevor Allen out rehabbing an injury, the Panthers had just two available running backs for the entire practice Monday — Sam Schnee and Aaron Graham, who had to leave early for class.
In addition to Allen being out, Tyler Hoosman, who saw significant reps down the stretch last season, is nursing a sore hamstring.
ON THE MOVE: Two players have switched sides of the ball.
Suni Lane, a junior to be, has bounced between safety and wide receiver the past two seasons and is now back at receiver.
“This is a chance to see how he performs on offense and we will see how it works out, and right now it is working out well,” Farley said. “He’s been effective. He may play both. He would not be the first to play both.”
The other notable switch was redshirt freshman Trevon Alexander moving from running back to outside linebacker.